Preface

Please enjoy these dissertations on various aspects of spiritual studies.  In them I hope to reiterate, in contemporary terms, the keys to understanding the classical spiritual viewpoints of Islamic Sufism. These are, to the best of my knowledge, the understandings of all the great Sufi masters, as derived from lifetimes of personal experience and practice within a classical Islamic context. 

These writings are my personal understandings of some terms, meanings and significances accrued as a result of my many years of contemplation, study and practice of the concepts and disciplines included in the body of knowledge commonly referred to as 'Islamic Sufism'. They are not proposed to be the 'final word' or 'final analysis'. They are not even proposed to be definitive. They are simply my personal understandings and come from the essence of my heart. 

It is my hope to present to you some of the fundamental practices and understandings of this science in such a way as to stimulate your interest, hope and enthusiasm for the same kind of personal development that is exemplified by the saintly Sufi masters of the past and present. 

These understanding work for me. I fully and sadly realize the foolhardiness of proposing them as universal truths even though at their essence, they purport themselves to be just that. This is, however, most likely to be taken as 'YAR', "Yet Another Reality", in a world already full to nuclear explosion with 'ultimate realities' and spiritual world views. One thing that I can guarantee about them is that I use them every day and that they are  effective and useful to me on my path of progress toward the One. It is only my sincere hope that they may be as useful to the reader as they are to me. 

*** A note on the text. It is a pet project of mine to help English become a truly universal and possibly even a committed spiritual language (like Sanskrit, Arabic, Urdu and so many others) by adopting into its vocabulary sufficient words and meanings from the Islamic and other traditions of spiritual knowledges. As a contribution to this endeavor, it is my intention to use as much possible of the common Arabic terminology as used in a normal Sufi conversational context. Should a word or two pop up that the reader does not understand and to which there is no attached meaning, please refer to a proposed glossary of terms at the rear of the compilation, whenever it is completed. 

*** A note on the use of the masculine gender word "HE" as the personal pronoun denoting the existence of Divine Benevolence: Please realize that there is of course no gender whatsoever to The Divine Reality, either real or implied. The word 'He' is the closest realistic, easy and practical translation for the Arabic word 'HU', which when used in human context is the third person pronoun denoting masculine gender, but when used in the context of referring to The Divine is as genderless as the finger that points to the moon, and is actually, in reality, another one of the Divine Names and Attributes indicating 'His' Existence as "The Divine Cause, Both Separate From And Linked Inexorably And Inexplicably To Our Own." 


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